Capital Semester Update: State Department Site Briefing

The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.

Capital Semester students visited the State Department during their first week in DC. They had an exclusive briefing with:

Peter Brennan, Coordinator for Cuban Affairs, Office of the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs

Joseph E. Salazar, Deputy Director for Economic Policy, Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination

Mike Taylor, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Mexican Affairs.

This rare opportunity gave them the occasion to ask questions, learn more about current policy issues, and get an inside look of how the State Department works.

Peter Brennan discussed how he entered into the Foreign Service in 1984 and has since served in San Jose, Costa Rica; Montevideo, Uruguay; Caracas, Venezuela; and many other countries in Central and Latin America and the Caribbean. Victoria Vlad a Capital Semester student from the Republic of Moldova, later reflected that, “the briefing gave her great insight into the economic relations of the US and its neighbors, as remarkable speakers shared stories about their experiences and made recommendations about how to begin careers in the foreign service.”

Joseph E. Salazar and Mike Taylor explained how their recent work with Mexican affairs has allowed them to oversee all the elements of the US-Mexico bilateral relationship, including security assistance, border issues and trade-related matters.

Charles Tufts of DePaul University shared with us how it was wonderful to “simply have access to individuals who are active in the foreign policy of the United States.” He later explained that “In class you have discussed foreign policy, but to actually have face-to-face interaction with those who play an integral role in American foreign policy was truly both a memorable and intellectually valuable experience.”

Students enrolled in our summer and semester-long programs have many opportunities like these—making a truly unparalleled experience in Washington, DC.

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